Combo based RPG combat (design sketch)


New member
Each character has a set of basic moves. Melee, Block, Shoot/Throw, Duck, Wait etc.

Each character also has a repertoire of special moves, sequences of basic moves that, when completed, yield an additional effect. For example, an archer might have a Wait->Duck->Shoot sequence for a "Tripping Shot" that, if the shot hits, forces the target to Duck next turn. Players should generally know what the enemies' special moves are.

Basic moves are (mostly) targeted abilities. Combos that end in one, reuse the target for the special effect. Combos that end in an untargeted ability are either defensive or AoE in nature.

Moves are selected in a double-blind fashion; the player party selects all their moves, and the enemies select theirs without knowing the players', and the moves resolve in some 'priority' order: for example, defenses first, then shooting, then melee, then waiting. Mortally wounded characters finish their turns before dying.

Enemies can use standard finite-state-machine-with-randomness AIs. Enemy difficulty is tuned by the length and density of their combo repertoire.
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Staff member
This is cool! I think often about these kinds of solutions to problems - why can't stuff just use combinations of 3 or 4 simple things to get complexity in this way. I think the hard thing is communicating this to players and not having it be too opaque-feeling a system? Like a similar problem to "recipes" in games maybe.

(BTW if you make a post on the forums ping us on the discord cuz I don't think anyone reads these anymore. I just happened to, for the first time in ages.)